Siblings and @EthansEscapades preparations for a new baby #ThisIsAutism

By | April 8, 2014

Today I have watched to my children playing, squealing with happiness on the trampoline or whizzing past me to play hide and seek.

Playing together. Something that I didn’t think was possible.

It never lasts long though, the very different intellectual and emotional abilities of T and D mean that D will inevitably find herself over-stimulated and the need to get her away from T before she has a meltdown is ever present. T is always extremely unempathetic when this happens, at times I feel I’m refereeing.

They are 18 months apart in age (T is the elder, with a diagnosis of high functioning autism) and, after reading tonight’s guest post from Jane, I did briefly wonder if, if we’d planned to add further to our family, what the doctors advice would have been.

When D was diagnosed (at age 4.5), I mentioned to the doctor that I had a family member who was trying for a family and what genetically were the changes of their child potentially also being on the spectrum. The answer I was given was 1 in 5.

With both T and D diagnosed, it’s a 2 in 3 with us. I don’t regret having either of them or their various traits for one moment. I never will. What I aim to change through blogging and my website is people’s awareness and Society’s perceptions of the autistic spectrum.

This Is Autism

Tonight’s guest post comes from Jane at @EthansEscapades, a fellow SN blogger and who I met at a launch party last year. Jane runs the Small Steps Amazing Achievements linky every week and I always aim to join in and read the other positivity posts.

Jane is pregnant with a brother or sister for Ethan and she’s written a great guest post below about how they’ll be preparing Ethan for the new baby and their hopes.


Over to Jane (and thanks for writing):

How Do We Prepare A Non-Verbal Autistic Child For The Arrival Of A New Baby?

Deciding to add a new member to the family is a big step for anyone, becoming a family of four after being so used to just having the three of you is a big step for all involved.

It took us a long time to decide that expanding our family unit would be the right step for us. When we realised our son has autism the first thing we researched was the statistics of having another child with autism, we discovered the odds are one in five. This scared us and we decided that our family of three was fine, but as time went on we saw that our son liked other children, even though he doesn’t know how to interact with them, he enjoys their company even at a distance. Our son also learns from watching other children and being around his peers so who better to learn from than a sibling. We decided to let fate take its course and see what it has in store for us.

I’m now 24 weeks pregnant, and the question I’m repeatedly asked is what does your son think of becoming a big brother? A question that cuts me like a knife and tugs at my emotions, a question that I dread being asked and the reason behind this is our son is non-verbal and has a mental age of two even though he will be four when the baby arrives.

So the question is how do we prepare our non-verbal son for the arrival of his new sibling?

Honestly, we have no idea!

We do believe our son does have some idea that I’m going through a change. I have been very ill with morning sickness so have been very out of sorts. He also touched my belly when we were at his swimming lesson one week as if to tell me he knows.

We thought about taking him to the twenty week scan but our son is scared of doctors and because the twenty week scan is such an important medical check we didn’t want him to pick up on any stress. It turns out we do have to have another scan at twenty eight weeks for some final checks so we think we may take him to that one to show him the baby.

I have started to put his hand on my tummy and say baby every now and then. We have also started to watch any programmes that follow birth stories, and when the baby is on the screen we point the baby out to our son.

As our son’s life is very visual the next step is finding a book we can read together, and I have also been told there are some cartoons you can get that welcome a new baby into the family.

We are also very worried how our son will accept the change that the new baby will bring to all of our lives. Our son thrives on his routine and a new baby will change all of our routines, but it will push him out of his comfort zone, which perhaps will be a good life lesson for him.

A life with autism can be very challenging and very emotional. Its times like this that I’m reminded how much I hate the non-verbal part of our lives. Without the verbal commination we have no way of building our son’s excitement of upcoming events, be it the new baby, birthdays, and Christmas. We have no way of verbally preparing him for change and it makes me so sad.

I love my son with all my heart and wouldn’t change him for the world but I do wish at some point we are blessed with verbal communication.

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